Rhapsody in Blue + Afro-American Symphony

Glacier Symphony celebrates 100th anniversary of Gershwin’s masterpiece

On Stage

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of George Gershwin’s beloved Rhapsody in Blue with Grammy-nominated pianist Terrence Wilson and The Glacier Symphony Orchestra, Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at McClaren Hall in Kalispell’s Wachholz College Center.

The audience is encouraged to get “all dolled up” in 1920s attire for the performance.

The program will also include the groundbreaking “Afro-American Symphony” No. 1 by William Grant Still and the Piano Concerto in One Movement by composer Florence Price.

Rhapsody in Blue, which debuted Feb. 12, 1924, as part of bandleader Paul Whiteman’s “An Experiment in Modern Music” concert at New York’s Aeolian Concert Hall, is known for integrating jazz rhythms with classical music. The composition, perhaps Gershwin’s most famous, is one of the most performed of all American concert works, and its opening clarinet glissando is among the most recognized musical passages in the world.

Stills’ Symphony No.1 was first performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra marking the first time in the history of the United States that a major orchestra premiered a symphony written by a black person. The composer said: “I knew that I wanted to write a symphony, I knew it should be an American work. I wanted to show how blues, often considered as a low-level genre of expression, could be raised to the highest musical level”.

Acclaimed by the Baltimore Sun as “one of the biggest pianistic talents to have emerged in this country in the last 25 years,” Terrence Wilson has appeared as a soloist with the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Washington, D.C. (National Symphony), San Francisco, St. Louis, and with the orchestras of Cleveland, Minnesota and Philadelphia, as well as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Abroad, Wilson has played concerti with such ensembles as the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland, the Malaysian Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Along the way, he’s accumulated numerous awards and prizes, including the SONY ES Award for Musical Excellence, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the Juilliard Petschek Award. In 2011, he was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Instrumental Soloist with an Orchestra.

Wilson is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky. He has also enjoyed the invaluable mentorship of the Romanian pianist and teacher Zitta Zohar. A native of the Bronx, he resides in Montclair, New Jersey. In March 2021, he was appointed to the piano faculty at Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Wilson also performs at the Love Your Symphony Soiree, 7 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Swank Recital Hall at the Wachholz College Center. While Wilson sets a romantic scene for guests, Salty Calf Catering will provide bites with local wine and beer ($65 per person).

Buy tickets for Rhapsody in Blue at the Wachholz website; learn more about the Glacier Symphony season here.